Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Odd Thomas: An Odd Thomas Novel, Book 1, by Dean Koontz--RELEASED TO BLU-RAY & DVD 03-25-14!

Odd Thomas: An Odd Thomas Novel,
Book 1
, by Dean Koontz.
Book Review by:
Sharon Powers.

     Hi, Folks. I'm happy to be back with you, today, reviewing one of Dean Koontz's most-loved books, the first book in his Odd Thomas series, called, aptly enough, Odd Thomas. This book sparked a love in readers for the strange hero, propelling the series forward through six books, so far. I selected the Odd Thomas book because a movie has been filmed by the same name--it is being released to Blu-ray and DVD on March 25th! We really have a lot to talk about, so let's get started.

     First, I'll bet you'd like to know why we are seeing the movie be released to DVD without having seen it in theaters. Would you? Well, I wanted to know, so I went and did some research on "Oddie's" movie. Here's what I found out. Originally, the film was slated to open in theaters in September of 2013. That never happened. What did happen to prevent the release sounds like a horror movie all on its own.

     According to The Hollywood Reporter (Hollywood Esq.), two production companies related to the film project filed a lawsuit against an investment group, a couple of individuals, and a media group. The reason for the lawsuit was that, allegedly, the sued entities didn't pay the agreed-upon $35 million that was ear-marked for marketing and distribution of the movie (and to pay back certain production loans). After meetings and new promises to pay, the money was still not paid. Without the money, according to The Hollywood Reporter, "substantial problems with the distribution of the film and with...existing investors and international distributors" arose.

The movie, Odd Thomas, will not be seen in theaters,
it has been shelved!
     According to "Page to Premiere," May 30, 2013, the Dean Koontz novel, Odd Thomas, may never be seen in theaters. Dean Koontz apparently reported that as being the case--because of the lawsuit--even though the movie had been completed and had already received the seal of approval from Dean Koontz. "Page to Premiere," was also reported as saying that even though the movie had been shelved, we might still hold out hope for it being released directly to Blu-ray/DVD/and instant video.

     So, here's the hot news! The movie is being released directly to Blu-ray/DVD on March 25, 2014!

     The movie, Odd Thomas, is available for preorder now--meaning you can preorder it and receive it in the mail the day it comes out--March 25, 2014. One place you can order the disc for the movie--Blu-ray or DVD--is on Amazon. 

     To order it, just follow this link. If, instead, you would like to rent the movie NOW!--you can watch it as an "instant video," from Amazon in HD for $6.99, by following this link. You can also buy the movie in HD for $17.99 (preorder) or regular DVD $12.99 (preorder). [Note: the prices listed are as of the original date of the posting of this blog post, and may change at any time thereafter.]

     On the Dean Koontz web site, Dean took a few minutes to talk about the upcoming movie, Odd Thomas. In that article, Dean Koontz addressed the movie's adaptation and indicated, that while some things had to change, Stephen Sommers kept the script/movie faithful to the novel's core. He also indicated how very happy he is about the new upcoming movie. You can read the entire (one page) article, here: Dean Speaks About the Odd Thomas Movie.

     We'll get to talking about the book, itself, in just a moment. But first, to help you decide about whether or not you would like to buy this movie, I have, for your convenience, provided a trailer for you to watch and consider. Please sit back and just enjoy.



     The stars of the movie are Anton Yelchin as Odd Thomas, Addison Timlin as Stormy Llewellyn, Leonor Varela as Oddie's mother, Willem Dafoe as Chief Wyatt Porter, Jack Justice as the young Odd Thomas and Robin Lanning as the young Stormy Llewellyn. Writer and Director is Stephen Somers. Somers is known for his screen writing and directing; his notable films include: Catch Me If You Can, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, Van Helsing, The Mummy, Tom and Huck, The Jungle book, and The Adventures of Huck Finn.
     
To keep up with what's happening, you can
get Dean Koontz mobile alerts.
    Since the movie comes out soon, we will be able to see whether or not the screen adaptation was successful. Being a lover of the Odd Thomas series, I, for one, am waiting for the release with great anticipation. When the book came out in 2003, it went to the New York Times Bestseller Books List and became so popular that Dean Koontz's series quickly went from one to six books.

THE BOOK, A SHORT SYNOPSIS:
One thing Odd Thomas loves to
cook--and takes great pride in--
his wonderful pancakes.
     We first see a young man by the name of "Odd Thomas" working as a fry cook in the sleepy backwater town of Pico Mundo. Odd Thomas thinks about himself as just your average Joe and even takes pride in his short order cooking. Odd Thomas even has a wonderful girl friend by the name of Stormy Llewellyn. But we have to wonder why he thinks about himself that way, as an average Joe, because, you see, he sees dead people. 

The Pico Mundo Cafe, from the movie,
Odd Thomas.
   

     
     Odd Thomas (sometimes called, "Odd," "Oddie," or "Odd One,") is afraid of what complications could occur if he were to move to a large city, since even living in a small one is difficult enough dealing with the ghosts of the dead. To complicate things even more, Oddie sees what he calls "bodachs." They are dark entities who appear and feed off of anyone who is suffering. 

One artists conception of a bodach
as a fluid, amorphous entity.
     Once he met a small boy who could also see the "bodachs;" somehow, when the "bodachs" realized the boy could see them, they caused a traffic accident that resulted in the boy being killed. Needless to say, after that, Oddie never overtly reacted to seeing the "bodachs." In fact, he keeps his abilities secret from everyone except for his girlfriend, Stormy, and Chief of Police Porter (who acts very much like a surrogate father to Oddie).

The ghost of a good
Elvis Presley.
     When a mysterious man arrives in town, the "bodachs" suddenly show up in really big numbers, Oddie realizes that Pico Mundo has a large catastrophe in its near future. Believing that the man has some connection to an upcoming catastrophy, Oddie uses what his girlfriend, Stormy, calls "psychic magnetism." Oddie walks the streets and, like a magnet, he is drawn to the mysterious man's home. He tries to gather more information, and soon "knows" that the cataclysmic event will happen sometime within the next day. It isn't long before some very memorable ghosts are appearing to him, including a dead prostitute, and the ghost of Elvis Presley. But what is a young fry cook to do about a pending disaster for which he has no physical evidence?

WHAT I THINK ABOUT THE BOOK:
     Dean Koontz starts out his story with something very mundane--a small, little drink water town where excitement is going to the Pico Mundo Cafe for a quick bite to eat. Koontz also has the most benign-appearing character in Odd Thomas who fills the role of the cook in this sleepy little town. What? A character who is proud of his ability to make pancakes? Nothing fancy, here. Everything and everybody is just plain old homespun. That is, until Koontz lets us see Oddies rather special attributes.

Obviously, a reference to the fact that all the red shirts (on
the "away team") usually died. In my October 2013 blog
post about the book, Red Shirts, by John Scalzi, I used
several photos of the red-shirted Enterprise crew
members. I just couldn't resist the reference to
 Star Trek and the tongue-in cheek humor.
     OK. OK. A young man who sees dead people. (Yawn.) I know this special attribute has all been done before, or should I say overdone many times over. But then, Dean Koontz does something with this ordinary life in this ordinary town that is far from ordinary.

     Oddie doesn't run away from the ghosts, but instead, really tries to help them solve their problems. For example, find justice for a young woman who was brutally raped and murdered.

     We get to see some new, strange, and scary entities called, "bodachs." They are harbingers of a huge catastrophe waiting in the wings of this little town. We also get to meet some very special ghosts, and see Oddies "psychic magnetism" at work. He's kind of like a dowsing rod for trouble. He walks the streets, and some special, unseen and sightless "magnetism" pulls him toward the source of the trouble.

Oddie taking matters into his own
hands--well, OK, its really a bat.
     And even though it may sound hokey, Oddie really does want to help the community be safe. Unfortunately, a hinky feeling that someone may be planning a disaster for your town is not exactly what the police force would consider to be a reliable tip. What alternative does Oddie have? That's right. He has to go stop the disaster himself. As he says in the book, "I might see dead people...but then, by God, I do something about it."

     I think that a big part of the charm of the book is Oddie's enthusiasm and caring for the other people in his life, and for the people of Pico Mundo. Although Oddie is odd in respect to his abilities, he is also a straight arrow in respect to his caring about the world around him.

The fact that he brings joy to the people he serves at the diner by cooking great pancakes (and other short order food), indicates just how nurturing he is, by nature. And, the fact that he is willing to put himself on the line and do something about justice and the imminent physical threat to the town is just very appealing.

     So, that's one thing. I also like the spin Koontz puts on Oddie's abilities and the rather scary, bodachs. On top of the psychic abilities and supernatural creature(s), we have some very bad men, to the level that I'd consider them terrorists. So, while the fundamental concepts may seem trite or overdone, Dean Koontz has a way of spinning the story so the ordinary becomes extraordinary.

MY FAVORITE QUOTE:
I am not fearless. Toss me in a cage with a hungry tiger, and if I should escape, I will need a bath and clean pants as surely as will the next guy. My unique path through life has led me, however, to fear known threats but seldom the unknown, while most people fear both. Fire scares me, yes, and earthquakes, and venomous snakes. People scare me more than anything, for I know too well the savagery of which humankind is capable. To me, however, the most daunting mysteries of existence--death and what lies beyond--have no fright factor because I deal with the dead each day. Besides, I have faith that where I am ultimately going is not to mere oblivion (p.83).     
From the book: After Odd
Thomas and Stormy visit a
(mechanical) fortune teller,
they get this card. Because
of this card, both Stormy and
Oddie believe they truly
will be together, forever.
     I am always interested in what things make people afraid. I find it amazing that death doesn't scare Oddie. I'm assuming it is because he can see ghosts and seems to know that there is some kind of life after life. I realize that this concept is set within a story, but I've seen people who were afraid of fish, but not afraid to jump out of a helicopter.

     I think that the unique things that each of us come to fear in our lives is perplexing. Whatever it is that makes each of us fear is a deep mystery plumbing the depths of our psyches and filling every corner of our lives.

     Dean Koontz has many wonderful quotes in his Odd Thomas book. This quote addresses a topic that is timelessly addressed by many writers and found on the pages of many novels. I think a writer couldn't do much better than to address a topic as timeless as fear of death--or in this case, the lack of fear. Oddie believes in some kind of life after life--he says so, here. Also, as you read Dean Koontz's novel, pay attention to Stormy Llewellyn's theory of life and death; it is unique and fascinating.

MY RECOMMENDATIONS AND RATING FOR THIS BOOK:

My rating for Odd Thomas.
     This book contains scenes of violence and that may cause young or sensitive readers difficulty; please be advised that parents supervising their children's reading material be aware. For adults who enjoy the genre of horror or thrillers, you will, undoubtedly enjoy Dean Koontz's book. I very much enjoyed this book, so much so, that I read all of the other books in the Odd Thomas Series. For all the reasons I stated above, I award this book 4.25 stars out of 5.

     Thank you for joining me today, as we have looked at Dean Koontz's novel, Odd Thomas, Book 1 of the Odd Thomas Series. This is an extra blog post, not on my weekly schedule; even so, I wanted to get the information out to you about this wonderful book in time for you to read it before the movie comes out to Blu-ray and DVD. I keep my fingers crossed that the movie will do the book justice--we just have to wait and see. 

     This week, pick up something, anything, and read it. You will be all the better for having experienced something wonderful in the pages of a book.

Until next time...
White Rose.
...many happy pages of reading!

All my best to you!

Sharon Powers.








REFERENCES
_________________________________________________
http://www.amazon.com/Odd-Thomas-Dean-Koontz-ebook/dp/B000T8F50S/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1394345961&sr=8-1&keywords=odd+thomas - Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz; http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/odd-thomas-producers-suing-35-416288 - The Hollywood Reporter (Hollywood, Esq.); http://pagetopremiere.com/2013/05/odd-thomas-may-never-be-seen-in-theaters/ - Page to Premiere; https://www.google.com/search?q=movie+being+shelved&espv=210&es_sm=122&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=3hMdU53gFM2GogTYq4LQCg&ved=0CAsQ_AUoAw&biw=1615&bih=843#facrc=_&imgdii=_&imgrc=O-XrSpffsjT0RM%253A%3B4CpXApZ2dqVW-M%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fsingularityweblog.zippykid.netdna-cdn.com%252Fwp-content%252Fuploads%252F2013%252F04%252FShelved.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.singularityweblog.com%252Fshelved-robot-comedy-shows-tragedy-of-robots-replaced-by-humans%252F%3B596%3B306 - "Shelved"; https://www.google.com/search?q=hot+news&espv=210&es_sm=122&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=lRYdU_TKEMnooATLt4HwAg&ved=0CAkQ_AUoAQ&biw=1615&bih=791#facrc=_&imgdii=_&imgrc=MpE_IaIpgWgv8M%253A%3BLoNe8MCVGEapoM%3Bhttps%253A%252F%252Flh6.ggpht.com%252F_5R8Payu9_a0G_M_s8_e2A7JS3UEJQibR-YLxRC86f1Y-ffFvchcUBT9nafVg6Q8Ig%253Dw300%3Bhttps%253A%252F%252Fplay.google.com%252Fstore%252Fapps%252Fdetails%253Fid%253Dso.scoop.hotnews%3B300%3B300 - "Hot News"; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CV_7tOWGvio - YouTube (Odd Thomas); http://www.deankoontz.com/for-fans/ - Dean Koontz mobile alerts;

http://www.deankoontz.com/dean-speaks-about-the-odd-thomas-movie-2/ - Interview with Dean Koontz; https://www.google.com/search?q=PICO+MUNDO&espv=210&es_sm=122&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=KzweU86HMcnboATt8IKIAw&ved=0CAoQ_AUoAg&biw=756&bih=708#imgdii=_ - Pancakes; and The Pico Mundo Cafe; https://www.google.com/search?q=bodachs&espv=210&es_sm=122&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=6pEfU9qUG8TkoAT57oH4CQ&sqi=2&ved=0CAcQ_AUoAQ&biw=1136&bih=708#facrc=_&imgdii=_&imgrc=Puh8Gw8zZRYp1M%253A%3B7ZvbnP4mYjarFM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fe08595.medialib.glogster.com%252Fmedia%252F4a%252F4ab231ae30d4313b3af95679b5f906d9692f342c93553b8129113d6b16b8c8e1%252Fbodachs.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.glogster.com%252Fsbadamo1%252Fwide-glog-by-sbadamo1%252Fg-6l5sredg9bmfvramaoobaa0%3B476%3B340 - Bodache; https://www.google.com/search?q=elvis+presley+ghost&espv=210&es_sm=122&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=15IfU8SpBcj0oASU-YGQDA&ved=0CAkQ_AUoAQ&biw=1136&bih=708#facrc=_&imgdii=_&imgrc=5k4i3foBsvqNaM%253A%3BVWQG5NDYodwjhM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.elvisblog.net%252FHalloween%252520Elvis%252F2011%252520Blog%252FGood%252520Elvis%252520Ghost.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.elvisblog.net%252Fcategory%252Fholiday-greetings-to-elvis%252Fpage%252F2%252F%3B245%3B437 - Elvis Presley ghost; https://www.google.com/search?q=i+see+dead+people&espv=210&es_sm=122&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=3owfU9b-JcaEogTkv4D4BA&ved=0CAkQ_AUoAQ&biw=1136&bih=708#facrc=_&imgdii=_&imgrc=v36Pnb_DlrYYlM%253A%3BX1KcDfUzelVNOM%3Bhttps%253A%252F%252Fi.chzbgr.com%252FmaxW500%252F2538251776%252Fh7834EDBF%252F%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fcheezburger.com%252F2538251776%3B500%3B376 - Star Trek Red Shirts; https://www.google.com/search?q=odd+thomas+movie&espv=210&es_sm=122&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=rdAfU7r5MISAogSEk4KIAg&ved=0CAsQ_AUoAw&biw=1615&bih=834#facrc=_&imgdii=_&imgrc=l-tFQdfpwm_GLM%253A%3By6pUwvbOXpk2PM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fatthamovies.com%252Fwp-content%252Fuploads%252F2014%252F01%252Fodd-thomas-movie-trailer-932x567.jpeg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fatthamovies.com%252Fodd-thomas-official-movie-trailer%252F%3B932%3B567 - Oddie with a bat; https://www.google.com/search?q=extraordinary&espv=210&es_sm=122&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=G9IfU8yHC8fgoATs4ICoBA&ved=0CAkQ_AUoAQ&biw=1615&bih=782#facrc=_&imgdii=_&imgrc=6kQqJhQLb8e6rM%253A%3BQp397QK9Pm2CoM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.donloree.com%252Fwp-content%252Fuploads%252F2012%252F03%252Fextraordinary-pyramids.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.donloree.com%252F2012%252F03%252F15%252Fextraordinary-comes-from-the-ordinary%252F%3B1024%3B442 - Extraordinary; https://www.google.com/search?q=my+favorite+quote&espv=210&es_sm=122&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=ONQfU6OkGpL5oASlxoGIBA&ved=0CAcQ_AUoAQ&biw=1615&bih=782#facrc=_&imgdii=_&imgrc=iJzmKp5MWC2p1M%253A%3Bvy-ogg6PC88T7M%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fthemarketingmomma.com%252Fwp-content%252Fuploads%252F2011%252F10%252Fshortest-favorite_quote_.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fthemarketingmomma.com%252Fquotes-social-media-marketing-feel-free-share%252F%3B325%3B325 - My Favorite Quote; https://www.google.com/search?q=odd+thomas+movie&espv=210&es_sm=122&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=fpUfU5GSAYvvoATq0IGoDA&ved=0CAkQ_AUoAw&biw=1136&bih=708#facrc=_&imgdii=_&imgrc=CEL4XLqrdHI_xM%253A%3BTnpWoCsdYNtSHM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Ffc08.deviantart.net%252Ffs70%252Fi%252F2013%252F210%252Fd%252F6%252Fodd_thomas_by_jafartwork-d6fpkct.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fjaf-artwork.deviantart.com%252Fart%252FOdd-Thomas-389184077%3B1024%3B1346 - Drawing of Odd Thomas; https://www.google.com/search?q=my+favorite+quote&espv=210&es_sm=122&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=ONQfU6OkGpL5oASlxoGIBA&ved=0CAcQ_AUoAQ&biw=1615&bih=782#q=4.25+stars+out+of+5&tbm=isch&facrc=_&imgdii=_&imgrc=n33OEZYhOqT86M%253A%3BiTqdCIs3yfVX8M%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252F2.bp.blogspot.com%252F-mAJoC_dc1dA%252FUWW6quIxz1I%252FAAAAAAAACmk%252F1oCqHQCspU8%252Fs320%252Ffour_quarter-stars_0.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fdeliciousreadsbookclub.blogspot.com%252F2013%252F04%252Four-review-fault-in-our-stars.html%3B320%3B75 - 4.25 stars out of 5; https://www.google.com/search?q=White+Roses&espv=210&es_sm=122&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=46MRU6vdL4LvoASY64LoDw&ved=0CAcQ_AUoAQ&biw=1501&bih=788#imgdii=_ - White Rose.